My husband/wife or civil partner hasn’t returned the acknowledgement of service. Shall I use the court bailiff or a private bailiff?

First of all, bailiffs cost around £100 – £120 so before rushing off to organise one, do check that the court is not sitting on the paperwork because of a backlog – particularly around a bank holiday. Courts do get very busy at certain times and it can cause delay.

If you have checked and nothing has been received, I recommend that you try and talk to your husband/wife or civil partner (of course not if it isn’t safe to do so) to see if there is a reason why the paperwork hasn’t been sent back.

Is he/she waiting to see a solicitor?

Has it not been received in the post?

Is he/she confused and worried about what to do with it.

Is he/she just burying his/her head in the sand and hoping not to have to do anything about it?

See if you can sort it out without going to any more expense.

If there is no alternative, then I would usually use the private bailiff option but that is just my personal preference. If you choose to use a private bailiff, follow a recommendation in your area or do a quick google search and make sure you use a reputable company.